Cox v. Allied Universal
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER. Coxs Application for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis (Dkt. 1 ) is GRANTED as stated herein. After an initial review of the Complaint, the Court will allow Cox to proceed with her claims against Defendants. Cox may proceed with service of the Summons of his Complaint inaccordance with applicable procedures. Signed by Judge David C. Nye. (caused to be mailed to non Registered Participants at the addresses listed on the Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) by (alw)
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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF IDAHO
ANGELA K. COX,
Case No. 4:21-cv-00318-DCN
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND
Pending before the Court is Plaintiff Angela K. Cox’s Complaint (Dkt. 2) and
Application for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis (Dkt. 1). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915,
the Court must review Cox’s request to determine whether she is entitled to proceed in
forma pauperis—which permits civil litigants to proceed without prepayment of the filing
fee or to pay the filing fee over time. Rice v. City of Boise City, No. 1:13-CV-00441-CWD,
2013 WL 6385657, at *1 (D. Idaho Dec. 6, 2013). Because she is filing to proceed in forma
pauperis, the Court must also undertake an initial review of Cox’s Complaint to ensure it
meets the minimum required standards.
For the reasons explained below, the Court will GRANT Cox’s application to
proceed in forma pauperis and will waive the filing fee in its entirety. Further, the Court
finds Cox’s Complaint legally sufficient to survive initial review.
II. APPLICATION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS
“[A]ny court of the United States may authorize the commencement, prosecution or
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defense of any suit, action or proceeding, civil or criminal, . . . without prepayment of fees
or security therefor.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). In order to qualify for in forma pauperis
status, a plaintiff must submit an affidavit that includes a statement of all assets she
possesses and indicates that she is unable to pay the fee required. The affidavit is sufficient
if it states that the plaintiff, because of her poverty, cannot “pay or give security for the
costs” and still be able to provide for herself and any dependents “with necessities of life.”
Adkins v. E.I. DuPont de Numours & Co., 335 U.S. 331, 339 (1948). The affidavit must
“state the facts as to affiant’s poverty with some particularity, definiteness and certainty.”
United States v. McQuade, 647 F.2d 938, 940 (9th Cir. 1981) (internal quotation marks and
The Court has examined Cox’s application to proceed in forma pauperis and finds
it conclusively establishes her indigence. Cox lists her monthly income as $1217, all
stemming from disability payments. Cox reports her monthly expenses are $1180. Dkt. 1,
at 4. Cox did not submit other documentation of her income or any other personal financial
statements corroborating her claims. As Cox spends approximately what she receives and
does not have substantial discretionary income, the Court will waive the fee entirely.
For these reasons, the Court finds Cox has sufficiently proved her indigence under
28 U.S.C. §1915.
III. SUFFICIENCY OF COMPLAINT
The Court is required to screen complaints that are brought by litigants who seek in
forma pauperis status. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). The Court must dismiss a plaintiff’s
complaint, or any portion thereof, if it: (1) is frivolous or malicious; (2) fails to state a claim
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upon which relief can be granted; or (3) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i–iii). To state a claim upon which
relief can be granted, a plaintiff’s complaint must include facts sufficient to show a
plausible claim for relief. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677–78 (2009).
During this initial review, courts generally construe pro se pleadings liberally,
giving pro se plaintiffs the benefit of any doubt. See Resnick v. Hayes, 213 F.3d 443,447
(9th Cir. 2000). Even so, plaintiffs—whether represented or not—have the burden of
articulating their claims clearly and alleging facts sufficient to support review of each
claim. Pena v. Gardner, 976 F.2d 469, 471 (9th Cir. 1992). Additionally, if amending the
complaint would remedy the deficiencies, plaintiffs should be notified and provided an
opportunity to amend. See Jackson v. Carey, 353 F.3d 750, 758 (9th Cir. 2003).
This Court is a Court of limited jurisdiction and as such, can only hear cases and
controversies that involve a federal question (28 U.S.C. § 1331) or satisfy federal diversity
jurisdiction requirements (28 U.S.C. § 1332). The Court will have original jurisdiction “of
all civil action arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.” Id.
Additionally, the Court will have supplemental jurisdiction “over all other claims that are
so related to claims in the action within such original jurisdiction that they form part of the
same case or controversy.” 28 U.S.C. § 1367.
Here, Cox accuses Defendants of violating provisions of the Americans with
Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101 et seq. Dkt. 2, at 3. At face value,
Cox’s complaint contains issues all arising from violations of the ADA—a federal
statute—which provides this Court with jurisdiction under § 1331.
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The ADA generally prohibits discrimination on the basis of an individual's
disability. To “establish a prima facie case of employment discrimination under the ADA,
a plaintiff must prove three elements: (1) the plaintiff is disabled within the meaning of the
ADA; (2) the plaintiff is a qualified individual able to perform the essential functions of
the job, either with or without reasonable accommodations; and (3) his employer
terminated him because of his disability.” Harshbarger v. Sierra Pac. Co., 26 Fed. App’x.
707, 709 (9th Cir. 2002); Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 §§ 102, 201; 42
U.S.C. §§ 12112, 12132.
In this case, Cox alleges that Defendant discriminated against her in violation of the
ADA on the basis of her disabilities, PTSD and induced chronic venous insufficiency (Dkt.
2, at 4; Dkt 2-2 at 3–11). Construing pro se pleadings liberally and giving Cox the benefit
of any doubt, Cox has adequately alleged an ADA legal claim at this stage of the
proceedings. The Court is not foreclosing Cox’s ability to amend her complaint with further
claims. Thus, the Court finds the federal question criteria of 28 U.S.C. § 1331 preliminarily
Cox’s application to proceed in forma pauperis establishes her indigency.
Additionally, Cox’s Complaint is legally sufficient, and this case may proceed.
Cox’s Application for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis (Dkt. 1) is
GRANTED as stated herein.
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After an initial review of the Complaint, the Court will allow Cox to
proceed with her claims against Defendants.
Cox may proceed with service of the Summons of his Complaint in
accordance with applicable procedures.1
DATED: October 7, 2021
David C. Nye
Chief U.S. District Court Judge
The Court advises Cox that she is subject to the same rules of procedure as parties represented by counsel.
See United States v. Merrill, 746 F.2d 458, 465 (9th Cir. 1984). Cox may obtain additional information
about how to proceed as a self-represented party, as well as copies of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
http://www.id.uscourts.gov/district/forms_fees_rules/Civil_Rules.cfm. The Court shall issue and serve
process for Cox only if requested.
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